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Train Derailment Impacts Delaware River

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Four locomotives and 59 rail cars with two partially submerged in water leaking roughly 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the Delaware River. 

This was the scene Thursday in Delaware County. Neighbors woke up to eroded ground, 16 rail cars derailed from the tracks and the smell of diesel fuel. 

“We could smell the diesel fuel and by then it had been on the news that the train had derailed in the middle of the night,” Cindy White, who lives less than half a mile from the scene, said.

White was lying in bed when she heard an unusual sound just after 2 a.m. 

“There was this bang,” White said.

The derailment happened parallel to State Route 17, near White’s front yard. Investigators and New York Southern Railway said the heavy rain and flooding washed out the railroad.

However, the derailment has created an environmental issue for the river.

“The problem we’re finding is the river is moving so fast, and so quickly, we don’t have a good mechanism to control or stop it from where it is," Matt Franklin, with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), said. "We’re addressing it the best we can at the source.”

A worry that continues for the Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR).

 “We’re concerned," Jeff Skelding, with the FUDR, said. "Anytime you have a petroleum product introduced into a river as high quality as this with the kind of fish we have here and the kind of ecosystem we have here. It’s a cause of great concern.”

Although, Franklin said not to worry. None of the chemicals were exposed and the DEC, plus the railway, are currently working to fix the issue.

The train company has hired and environmental company to start the remediation," Franklin said. "The first thing you do is remove any of the product from the leaking engines and now they’re addressing any of the other product that might be around in the general area of the engines. It takes a bit of working closely together to make sure we’re not interfering with their operations and they’re not interfering with ours.”

No injuries were reported from this incident. Part of the cargo included sulfuric acid, radioactive soils containing low levels of alpha radiation and non-radioactive contaminated soil.

The railway and DEC said they will be working well into next week to clear the area.